Winter certainly offers plenty of opportunity for making warm memories with your family: teaching your toddler the joy of making snow angels and building a snowman, sipping hot chocolate that’s loaded up with extra marshmallows, cuddling with your baby to read a favorite story. As British poet Edith Stitwell noted, “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
Winter is also when sick germs are in full force. So how do you keep them out of your home and protect your babies and toddlers from their reach? While there’s no way to fully avoid common colds and winter sniffles, there are some healthy practices you can follow in the winter months to keep the sick germs at bay.
Enforce hygienic behavior
Be diligent about hand washing. It’s one of the most important things you can do to combat the spread of germs. Even if you feel like your constant reminders sound like a broken record, stress the importance of washing hands to your kiddos. Make washing up a fun experience for your little ones by singing songs or playing games. Teach them ways they can take action to prevent spreading germs too, including using tissues or sneezing into their “chicken wing” (elbow) rather than the open air, into their hands, or directly on someone else!
Set the scene for restful sleep
Getting adequate sleep is important no matter the season. Ensure your toddler’s sleep environment is conducive to a good night of shuteye:
- For the the best rest possible, minimize lights and sounds that could interfere with their ability to fall (and stay!) asleep.
- Your toddler’s pajamas should be snug and warm so they are able to sleep in comfort the whole night through. Little Grounders’ innovative toddler clothing fit the bill and keep your baby from climbing out of the crib too!
- Winter air can be so drying! One additional step you can take in the winter months to keep your sleep space comfortable is running a humidifier to give the air a boost of moisture.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Drinking water is part of a healthy lifestyle, so be certain your little ones are ingesting enough to maintain their hydration levels. The amount of fluids babies and toddlers should drink is based on their weight. Keeping hydrated extends to skincare as well. Winter air can cause a lot of dryness - especially for little ones’ sensitive skin. Stock up on baby-safe creams, lotions, and petroleum jelly to ensure your toddler’s delicate skin is kept moisturized and well-nourished.
Steer clear of sick friends and family members
Sharing is caring, but not when it comes to germs. Play dates and family gatherings are fun times you don’t want to miss out on, but it’s not going to be enjoyable if your time together is spent worrying about whether your little ones (or you!) will come away with a case of the sniffles. Prioritize health over social time and save yourself some stress. Put your “let’s get together” plans on hold until everyone is well enough to fully enjoy it.
Take care of you too!
You’re best-equipped to help your little ones when you yourself are healthy. One of the best things mamas and daddies can do to keep their babies and toddlers healthy and safe this winter is to take care of themselves too. Yes, it’s tough. You've got a lot on your plate. Between trying to keep your kids from climbing out the crib, coming up with healthy and interesting meals that the whole family will actually eat, arranging playdates and doing your best to keep your toddler healthy, you're pretty much working around the clock. Just remember, not only is it okay to look out for you, it’s necessary.
A Little Love,